In his Easter sermon preached in Inverness the Rt Rev Mark Strange said:
Woman here is your Son, this is your Mother….
“For me this is one of the most powerful moments of the Passion, there in the midst of pain and humiliation, almost at the point of death, Jesus’s love and care for those around him enables him to offer two of those closest to him the means of care and support in the difficult time to come.
“That was a powerful message delivered to me recently by visitors from Canada at our Diocesan Synod; they spoke about the Grandmothers of Africa. These are the women who without any official support have found themselves caring and defending the generation of children who lost their parents through the Aids/HIV epidemic. I listened to the stories of women who had lost their children but now cared for their children’s children,and the children of their children’s friends, some had many children living with them in difficult circumstances. These Grandmothers also told us that we can all be ‘Grands…’, caring for those in our own communities.
“That hit home! I have many people close to me who are caring for their grandchildren as an effect of the epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction that has spread through our own communities. I spend time with parents in families where the extended family has become vital in the welfare of children.
“Yet we live in a society that still stigmatises those who live in a different family shape from that which is considered normal, we are told that somehow the love and care will be lessened if the nuclear family is broken; that isn’t what I see. I see children loved by struggling parents and whose extended family are the carers. I see brothers and sisters, grandparents and friends caring for the children of those who cannot care for themselves. And I thank God for the commitment and love shown by those people.
“Women here is your Son, daughter here is your mother. We will love each other as we help each other to find the path of healing.”